Judges 20
Legacy Standard Bible►► 

A Battle Between Israel and Benjamin

1Then all the sons of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, came out, and the congregation assembled as one man to Yahweh at Mizpah. 2And the [†]chiefs of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, took their stand in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 foot [†]soldiers who draw the sword. 3(Then the sons of Benjamin heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the sons of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this evil take place?” 4So the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “I came with my concubine to spend the night at Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin. 5Then the men of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night because of me. They intended to kill me; instead, they violated my concubine, and she died. 6And I seized my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout the land of Israel’s inheritance; for they have committed a lewd and disgraceful act in Israel. 7Behold, all you sons of Israel, give your advice and counsel here.”

8Then all the people arose as one man, saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us turn aside to his house. 9But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up against it by lot. 10And we will take 10 men out of 100 throughout the tribes of Israel, and 100 out of 1,000, and 1,000 out of 10,000 in order to take up provisions for the people, that when they come to [†]Gibeah of Benjamin, they may do to them according to all the disgraceful acts that they have done in Israel.” 11Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united as one man.

12Then the tribes of Israel sent men through the entire [†]tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this evil that has taken place among you? 13So now, give up the men, the [†]vile fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and purge this evil from Israel.” But the sons of Benjamin were not willing to listen to the voice of their brothers, the sons of Israel. 14Then the sons of Benjamin gathered from the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the sons of Israel. 15And from the cities on that day the sons of Benjamin were [†]numbered, 26,000 men who draw the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah who were [†]numbered, 700 choice men. 16Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17And the men of Israel besides Benjamin were [†]numbered, 400,000 men who draw the sword; all these were men of war.

18Then the sons of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and asked of God and said, “Who shall go up for us to begin the battle against the sons of Benjamin?” Then Yahweh said, “Judah shall begin it.”

19So the sons of Israel arose in the morning and camped against Gibeah. 20And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel arranged themselves for battle against them at Gibeah. 21Then the sons of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and destroyed to the ground on that day 22,000 men of Israel. 22But the people, the men of Israel, strengthened themselves and arranged themselves for battle again in the place where they had arranged themselves the first day. 23And the sons of Israel went up and wept before Yahweh until evening and asked of Yahweh, saying, “Shall we again approach for battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin?” And Yahweh said, “Go up against him.”

24Then the sons of Israel drew near to the sons of Benjamin the second day. 25And Benjamin went out to meet them from Gibeah the second day and destroyed to the ground again 18,000 men of the sons of Israel; all these drew the sword. 26Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before Yahweh and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before Yahweh. 27Then the sons of Israel asked of Yahweh (now the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, Aaron’s son, stood before it to minister in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?” And Yahweh said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hand.”

29So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah. 30And the sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day and arrayed themselves against Gibeah as at other times. 31So the sons of Benjamin went out to meet the people and were drawn away from the city, and they began to strike [†]and slay some of the people as at other times, on the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, and in the field, about thirty men of Israel. 32The sons of Benjamin said, “They are [†]defeated before us, as at the first.” But the sons of Israel said, “Let us flee that we may draw them away from the city to the highways.” 33Then all the men of Israel arose from their place and arrayed themselves at Baal-tamar; and the men of Israel in ambush burst forth of their place, even out of Maareh-geba. 34Then 10,000 choice men from all Israel came against Gibeah, and the battle became heavy; but [†]Benjamin did not know that [†]calamity was [†]about to reach them. 35Then Yahweh [†]defeated Benjamin before Israel, so that the sons of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day, all [†]who drew the sword.

36So the sons of Benjamin saw that they were [†]defeated. Now the men of Israel had given [†]ground to Benjamin because they relied on the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah. 37So the men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah. Then the men in ambush deployed and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. 38Now the appointed sign between the men of Israel and the men in ambush was that they would make a great cloud of smoke rise from the city. 39So the men of Israel had turned around in the battle, and Benjamin had begun to strike [†]and slay about thirty men of Israel, for they said, “Surely they are [†]defeated before us, as in the first battle.” 40But the cloud began to rise from the city in a column of smoke, and Benjamin turned behind them; and behold, the whole city was going up in smoke to heaven. 41Then the men of Israel turned around again, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed; for they saw that [†]calamity had [†]reached them. 42Therefore, they turned their backs before the men of Israel toward the direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them, and those who came out of the cities destroyed them in the midst of them. 43They surrounded Benjamin, pursued them without rest, and trod them down opposite Gibeah to the east toward the sunrise. 44Thus 18,000 men of Benjamin fell; all these were valiant men. 45[†]And the rest turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, but they [†]caught 5,000 of them on the highways and overtook them [†]at Gidom and struck down 2,000 of them. 46So all of Benjamin who fell that day were 25,000 men who drew the sword; all these were valiant men. 47But 600 men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and they remained at the rock of Rimmon four months. 48Now the men of Israel returned to the sons of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city with the cattle and all that they found; they also set on fire all the cities which they found.

2 Lit cornerstones
2 Lit men
10 Heb Geba
12 Lit tribes
13 Lit sons of Belial, cf. 2 Cor 6:15
15 Or mustered
15 Or mustered
17 Or mustered
31 Lit slain ones
32 Lit smitten
34 Lit they
34 Lit evil
34 Lit touching
35 Lit smote
35 Lit these
36 Lit smitten
36 Lit place
39 Lit slain ones
39 Lit smitten
41 Lit evil
41 Lit touched
45 As in Gr; Heb And they
45 Lit gleaned
45 Lit as far as

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